Iran: dissident rapper could face execution
The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran on April 6 urged the international community to demand the release of Toomaj Salehi, a popular rapper who has become a prominent voice of Iran's protest movement. Salehi was arrested in October, and charged with "corruption on Earth," which carries the death penalty, as well as "propaganda against the state," "collaboration with hostile governments," and other offenses punishable by up to 10 years in prison. No date has been set for the trial. Toomaj has been segregated from all other inmates in Dastgerd Prison, a maximum-security facility run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Following the release of a video by the state media showing Salehi with bruises on his face and a blindfold covering his eyes while apologizing for his words, the rapper's family members and supporters cited instances of torture to obtain a false confession. (Jurist)
Another rapper, Saman Yasin, an ethnic Kurd, also remains jailed after being arrested in October amid street protests. He was initially facing charges that could carry the death sentence, but those charges were dismissed on appeal to Iran's Supreme Court in December. In February, he went on hunger strike at Evin Prison in protest of the "state of uncertainty" in his case, and being denied legal counsel of his own choosing. (CHRI, The Guardian)